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Tips for Cultural Adjustment

  • Be aware of the process. Realize that your feelings are normal. Talk with another person about what you are going through. Find other students who have gone through this transition.
  • Get involved! Allow yourself to be integrated into on and off campus communities. Student clubs, IHP host families, student jobs, university sporting events and other extracurricular activities.
  • Find some American friends who will share insights with you into American culture. You may be surprised by their different opinions and experiences of their own culture.
  • Stay busy with new activities, as well as hobbies and sports you enjoyed at home.
  • Maintain your sense of humor. Being able to laugh at funny or embarrassing experiences really helps. You are not alone and everyone who lives in a different culture has these stories to share.
  • Keep realistic expectations about how long your adjustment process will take. Allow yourself plenty of time to accomplish tasks in your new environment.
  • Be open-minded, flexible, and adaptable. Some things won't make sense for a long time and that's okay.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions when you are confused or struggling to figure something out on your own.
  • Communicate with your instructors at SIUE. In many cultures students do not talk with their professors. In the U.S., communication with your instructors is extremely important. Reasons to speak with your instructors include not understanding an assignment, missing class for any reason, or being unable to turn in an assignment. Your instructors can make informed decisions about your class work only when you inform them.